Victoria Cleland: Global action to enhance cross-border payments

Speech by Ms Victoria Cleland, Executive Director for Banking, Payments and Innovation of the Bank of England, at the Global Payments Summit, Cape Town, 29 June 2023. 

Central bank speech  | 
03 July 2023

It is a pleasure to be speaking here in Cape Town to open the Global Payments Summit: an event that brings together representatives from over 30 countries across five continents. What better audience to address about enhancing cross-border payments: a global challenge that requires global solutions. The more countries that participate, the greater the difference we can make.

Almost three years ago to the day, the Committee for Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) published the 19 building blocks to enhance cross-border payments.
The building blocks were the foundation for a clear action plan endorsed by the G20 – the Roadmap. This set out a vision and steps to achieve it, bringing together central banks, public authorities, standard-setting bodies and the private sector around the world.

And to provide measurable focus, the G20 endorsed clear and ambitious targets for 2027 to unite everyone around the same vision: to make cross-border payments faster, cheaper, more transparent, and more accessible. These enhancements could reduce barriers to trade: cutting transaction costs on international trade just by one percentage point would save firms $13bn in Africa alone. And with a focus on remittances as well as wholesale and retail payments, ultimately improve financial inclusion and help to alleviate poverty. That is what I call a worthwhile vision!

Enhancing cross-border payments has been an objective for many decades. What is different now is that we have a clear vision, targets and a holistic approach on how to address the disparate set of underlying frictions. And the work is taking place at a time of rapid innovation in the payments industry and national payment systems, creating an opportunity to build on existing change programmes.